Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA at the Kinderhook Tap - Review

I thought for sure he was joking.  When my friend told me several years ago that he saw a tap list with a Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA, a blend of its 60 and 90 Minute IPA's, I took it as a veritable April Fools, even though it was probably July.  It figured to be a gag, some zealous barkeep playing alchemist with the taps, blending the two beers together. Alas, a year later or so, Dogfish Head indeed made it official in their e-mail blast, informing that the 75 Minute IPA was being offered in large-format bottles.  This was no joke and I knew I had to try it, and soon.  I finally got my shot at the Kinderhook Tap in Oak Park, Illinois the other day.

You can see the lacing in the photo. 75 Minute is a serious beer with strong, tight carbonation.  Floral notes on the nose are uber.  It's quite perfumy.  It has a very wet taste profile in that the hops are a bit juicy, very west coast style.  It surprisingly bears almost none of the robust sweetness and earthiness of the 90 Minute.  It also disguises a lot of the 60 Minute's herbaceousness.   Some of the best elements of both beers are rounded together into a beer that tastes imperial, given its palpable alcohol impact and its elegant malt balance, but retains an airiness.  This lightness is driven home by the super floral nature of it.  Leave it to Dogfish Head to keep the humor coming: its listed average is 7.5% alcohol.   Of course.

Let me add that me and my pal Matt from Toledo loved the Kinderhook!  It's a corner bar in feel and indeed, sitting right on a corner in sleepy Oak Park amidst a cluster of well-sized older homes.  It has sort of an inviting glow, a real neighborhood feel.  Just a few small tables surround the bar.  The clientele was pleasantly into their conversations and seemed to know their beer. You can't even get a beer from the Unholy Trinity of large brewers there.  In fact, they don't even carry Sam Adams.  I love that they have only a few taps, and their handle offerings are written on a chalkboard.  They had at least one Port beer, a brown ale I've never tried.   Something about seeing a Port brew written in chalk screams "beer bar!" I enjoyed seeing them pour beers into English-style pints, the kind that jut out near the top.

Overall, 75 Minute is a killer beer.  Superb.  It's a solid testament to both 60 Minute IPA, which was my gateway into IPA appreciation and you know the rest; and 90 Minute IPA, my favorite beer on earth. Our bartender (whatever her name was - she never said - but hats off to her for recommending this, and I hope she reads this post) claimed that they added maple syrup to the wort for this blend.  I didn't notice any residual sweetness.  In fact, if I were to add anything to this beer, it would be a bit more of 90 Minute's caramel and earthiness.  Nonetheless, it's a beautiful marriage.

4.6 of 5 stars.

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